​Ubuntu’s new take on Kubernetes | ZDNet

The open-source, cloud/container DevOps tool Kubernetes has just launched a major new release: Kubernetes 1.4. At the same time, Canonical, Ubuntu Linux‘s parent company, is embracing Kubernetes with its own Enterprise Kubernetes take.

Ubuntu Kubernetes

Canonical has made it easy to deploy and run Kubernetes and containers on any cloud that supports Ubuntu. That, by the by, is pretty much all of them.

Kubernetes is a container DevOps tool that was pioneered by Google. Google used it to manage its own container technology, lmctfy (Let Me Contain That For You). You, in turn, used this every time you ran any Google program, such as Search, Gmail, Google Docs, or whatever. Google open-sourced Kubernetes, and it’s now available on Linux-based clouds and Microsoft Azure.

What Canonical wants to do with Kubernetes, said Mark Shuttleworth, Ubuntu’s founder, is to “provide a full cloud/container stack”. To make this happen, Shuttleworth added, “Canonical has been working with Google”.

You will be able to run Canonical’s Kubernetes on any cloud platform that supports Ubuntu. In case you didn’t know, that’s pretty much all of them. Ubuntu is easily the most popular cloud Linux distribution.


Microsoft continues its pivot to being all about cloud services


Microsoft continues its pivot to being all about cloud services

It’s not over for Windows and devices. But Microsoft’s future is increasingly about the cloud and subscriptions, as its financials and corporate priorities show.

Shuttleworth added, “We’re offering Google’s Kubernetes across both public and private clouds. You will be able to run it it on Azure, VMware, bare metal, whatever, and we make it easy.”

Canonical made this move, Shuttleworth said, because of customer demand. At the same time, the company also has plans to offer packages that integrate Ubuntu with Docker Swarm and Mesosphere.

What makes Canonical’s distribution of Kubernetes different from others, Shuttleworth continued, is a that it’s “pure, vanilla version” of the open-source container management platform that integrates with Ubuntu. With it, users can run Kubernetes anywhere they run Ubuntu. That means Canonical’s Kubernetes can run in a customer’s private cloud or any of the major public Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud vendors.

Want to see how it works? Canonical has a complete Kubernetes cluster, which includes logging, monitoring, and operational functions ready for you to run using Juju, Canonical’s easy-to-use DevOps deployment tool. I think you’ll be impressed.

Related Stories:

Got bitcoin? Despite early setbacks, some say it is stronger than ever

From the beginning, the concept has been alluring if not utopian. Imagine a currency that is not tied to the whims of politicians, the foibles of central bankers, or the fortunes of a particular country. Rather than relying on a government to mint a currency, users could “mine” their own bitcoin by running software — contributing their own computing power to verify other bitcoin transactions. Or they could simply buy bitcoin on one of several online exchanges, investing in it like any other currency. To many, it seemed like a good bet.

By the fall of 2013, with the U.S. government locked in yet another showdown over raising the debt ceiling and facing the specter of an unprecedented default, interest in virtual currencies like bitcoin peaked. The price of a single bitcoin reached a high of $1,108.80 according to Coinbase, the first licensed U.S. bitcoin exchange.

But the frenzy would be short-lived.

Around the time prices were reaching their high, U.S. authorities were exposing what they considered the dark side of bitcoin, busting what the FBI called “a black market bazaar for drugs and illegal services” — an underground web site known as Silk Road. In a case explored in the latest episode of “American Greed,” the FBI arrested the site’s 29-year-old founder, Ross Ulbricht, who was eventually sentenced to life in prison (he is appealing his conviction). And the government seized more than $30 million worth of Silk Road’s currency of choice: bitcoin.

Meanwhile in Japan, the world’s largest bitcoin exchange, Mt.Gox, was spiraling into bankruptcy amid allegations it was a conduit for money laundering.

Within two months of Ulbricht’s arrest, bitcoin lost nearly half its value. The price would continue to decline for more than a year, hitting a low of $203.77 at the beginning of 2015, according to Coinbase.

But lately, bitcoin has been rebounding, hitting $757.77 in June. The price has leveled off since then but is still roughly three times its 2015 lows. Santori says an even better indicator of bitcoin’s apparent rebound is volume.

“After the Silk Road was taken down, we did see a hit in volume,” he said. “It confirms that bitcoin was being used on the Silk Road and used in earnest. But volume went back up again, and now it’s many, many times what it was back then.”

Indeed, according to the Luxembourg-based technology firm Blockchain, more than 200,000 bitcoin transactions are taking place daily now, compared with just 90,000 at the peak of the frenzy in 2013.

“Digital currency today is so much farther along than it was even back in 2013 when it arguably started to reach its height and peak in sort of mass market popularity,” Santori said.

Bird & Bird wins landmark first UDRP decision against a ".feedback" gTLD for the De Beers Group of companies

De Beers has succeeded in its complaint against the registrant of the domain name debeers.feedback. The decision is significant as it is the first decision in relation to a .feedback gTLD registration and is good news for brand owners – contrary to the initial views of the registry owners at launch, they can successfully challenge such registrations.

Certain of the new gTLDs released recently have caused serious concerns to brand owners, because of the risk of prominent sites being created in order to attack or tarnish their brand (including .sucks, .xxx and so on). New gTLDs such as .feedback and .review raise more nuanced issues of free speech, but it is now clear that arguments to that effect are not the complete trump card which registry owners hoped they would be. Brand owners should be encouraged to stand up to attempts to hijack their marks, particularly where the facts show that the site in question is being used in bad faith.

In the debeers.feedback decision, the WIPO Administrative Panel held that the three requirements for a successful complaint under the UDRP (Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy) were all met, namely that:

  1. the disputed domain name was identical or confusingly similar to a trade mark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights;
  2. the Respondent had no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and
  3. the disputed domain name had been registered and was being used in bad faith.

The Panel therefore ordered that the disputed domain name debeers.feedback be transferred back to the Complainant, De Beers.

Background

The Respondent in this case registered the domain name debeers.feedback close to the end of the “Early Access Period” for the .feedback domain, before names in the domain became open to “General Availability” in January 2016. While some domains on the .feedback registry have been assigned a fixed cost, others invite potential registrants to “make offer” to the registry owners, e.g. Gucci.feedback. Other “review” gTLDs have similarly staged pricing structures for what the registry owners deem to be “premium” domains, making it difficult for brand owners to acquire a comprehensive domain portfolio without incurring very significant costs.

Jay Westerdal, the founder of DomainTools.com, commented at the initial launch of the .feedback gTLD that:

No trademark (sic) infringement will occur… the sites are all geared towards free speech and giving reviews. Confusing the public that the brand is running the site will not happen, each site has a disclaimer and makes it clear the brand is not running the site.

These comments were designed to bolster the legitimacy of .feedback domains and raised questions over a brand owner’s ability to challenge third party registrations of a .feedback domain, and indeed of other review style sites, such as .sucks and .review.

However, various elements of the registration of debeers.feedback suggested that it was made in bad faith and a complaint was therefore made to the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Centre.

Discussion and Findings

A) Identical or confusingly similar to a trade mark

It was held by the Panel that De Beers clearly had proven ownership of numerous registered trade marks for DE BEERS around the world, and the disputed domain name was identical to the De Beers owned marks. The website also made use of the De Beers logo and contained links to the company’s website and official social media. This requirement was therefore clearly met.

B) The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the domain name; and

C) The domain was registered and used in bad faith

A number of arguments were put forward to demonstrate why the Respondent had no rights in the domain name and that the registration was both confusing to consumers and made in bad faith, including:

  1. Questions over the veracity of the reviews posted on the site;
  2. The nature of the disclaimer being small, insignificant and unnoticeable; and
  3. The use of a privacy service to register the disputed domain name.

The Panel’s decision only dealt with one of these arguments, that relating to the veracity of the reviews. Eleven reviews were present on the website attached to the disputed domain name, of which five only appeared after a cease and desist letter was sent to the registrant. Interestingly, all five of these reviews supposedly pre-dated the letter of demand, which the Panel regarded as “extremely suspicious”.

To show the registration of a domain name is made in “good faith”, WIPO Panels require “evidence that the domain name is actually being used for the genuine airing of grievances or at least demonstrable preparation for such use.” The Respondent had no explanation for the belated appearance of the “reviews” dated before the letter of demand was sent, resulting in the Panel finding that De Beers had demonstrated a prima facie case that the reviews were not genuine and the website to which the disputed domain name resolved was not being used in good faith for legitimate non-commercial or fair use purposes.

The Panel therefore ruled in De Beers’ favour and deemed it unnecessary to address the other arguments advanced.

Conclusion

New gTLDs are still in their relative infancy and so it is as yet unclear what importance they will play in the online world. However, given that Google has recently spent over $25 million to buy the .app registry, it seems likely that sites with new gTLDs will begin to receive more and more prominence in search engine results. The ultimate fear for brand owners is that sites featuring their brands in conjunction with unsavoury content begin to appear next to brand owners’ own websites in search results.

The debeers.feedback decision is relatively narrow because the Panel accepted De Beers’ arguments relating to the legitimacy of the reviews on the website, and did not need to address the other arguments raised in the complaint which would have been of more general applicability. It is encouraging for brand owners though, and confirms the cost-effective nature of the UDRP complaints process as a means of controlling brand reputation in the online world.

Melinda Willis (Legal Advisor, Anglo American plc speaking on behalf of the De Beers Group of Companies) said, “De Beers is very pleased with the outcome of this first decision in relation to a .feedback gTLD registration. As a leader in the luxury sector, De Beers has made huge investments over a number of generations to grow the value of its brands. As any misuse of our IP could seriously undermine our brand equity, De Beers takes the protection of its IP very seriously. This includes adapting our brand protection and enforcement strategies to the ever-changing online world including, in this case, the new gTLD regime .”

Ubuntu Linux 16.10 ‘Yakkety Yak’ Beta 2 open source OS now available for download

Yak

Next month, one of the most important desktop operating systems will get a major update. No, I am not talking about Windows or macOS; I am referring to Ubuntu. True, from a market share perspective Linux-based desktop operating systems are rather insignificant, but for those in the know, Canonical’s open source OS is quite brilliant. Its fans and users are very loyal and passionate.

Today, the final beta of the upcoming Ubuntu Linux 16.10 becomes available. While this version — dubbed ‘Yakkety Yak’ — will not reinvent the wheel, it should offer enough to delight existing users of the open source operating system. Hey, if it’s not broke, why fix it, right? That is a lesson Microsoft learned the hard way with Windows 8, but I digress.

ALSO READ: Linux Mint unveils ‘Mintbox Mini Pro’ — a diminutive desktop powered by AMD

“Codenamed ‘Yakkety Yak’, 16.10 continues Ubuntu’s proud tradition of integrating the latest and greatest open source technologies into a high-quality, easy-to-use Linux distribution. The team has been hard at work through this cycle, introducing new features and fixing bugs”, says Steve Langasek, Developer, Canonical.

Langasek further says, “the beta images are known to be reasonably free of showstopper CD build or installer bugs, while representing a very recent snapshot of 16.10 that should be representative of the features intended to ship with the final release expected on October 13th, 2016”.

While there aren’t many new aspects, there are some significant changes. The Linux kernel has been updated to 4.8 and the included GNOME apps have all been updated to 3.20 and higher. The wonderful LibreOffice is now at version 5.2.

If you are ready to download Ubuntu 16.10 ‘Yakkety Yak’, you can use the below links. Desktop users will most likely want to select Ubuntu Desktop (Unity), but I recommend Kubuntu and Ubuntu GNOME too. Want to install Google Chrome on the operating system? You can follow our how-to guide here.

Photo Credit: da_o/Shutterstock

Can This 22-year-old Coder Out-Bitcoin Bitcoin?

A month after the hack—and mere days after presiding over a controversial vote to initiate a “hard fork” process that would recover the DAO’s stolen funds and make whole its backers—Vitalik Buterin is listening impassively to a guy wearing a beanie cap shaped like a Pokémon dragon. “This is a really tricky game,” says the man in the hat, an assistant professor of computer engineering, as he excitedly begins to lay out a complicated logic puzzle. But before he can get too far, Buterin quietly interrupts with a clever solution. “Oh,” says the Pokémon prof, crestfallen. “That’s actually pretty cool.”

Buterin (No. 31 on 2016 40 Under 40 list), a 22-year-old coder, is visiting the Cornell University campus for a boot camp organized by IC3, or the Initiative for Cryptocurrencies Contracts, an academic consortium that researches peer-to-peer payment systems. Roughly two-dozen programmers are gathered around a long conference table inside Gates Hall (as in Bill and Melinda), the brand-new, steel-plated home to Cornell’s computing and information science departments. The air is thick with talk of “stochastic dominance,” “Merkle trees,” and “zk-SNARKs.”

Although he’s among the youngest in the room, Buterin is indisputably the star of the group. He is, after all, the wunderkind creator of Ethereum, the network on which Ether runs. And Ether is now the biggest rival to Bitcoin, the $10 billion cryptocurrency that mysteriously burst onto the scene less than a decade ago.

BLO.10.01.16.Blockchain.valuation chart

Since its launch last year, the total value of Ether has rocketed from nothing to nearly $1 billion, easily outpacing every other virtual-coin contender. (There are hundreds.) Yet the promise of the technology Buterin has built extends far beyond its possibilities as a speculative digital currency. Ethereum’s boosters believe the network could someday power a host of decentralized applications—censorship-free social networks, public utility ride-hailing apps, crowd-sourced prediction markets and investment firms, even governments.

Buterin’s creation is already making inroads beyond the coder set. Fortune 500 companies have begun trials with the technology. Last year Samsung and IBM


ibm



launched a project to coordinate Internet-connected devices, like washing machines and lightbulbs, over an Ethereum-based network. At the beginning of this year 11 banks—including Wells Fargo


wfc



, Barclays


bcs



, UBS


ubs



, Credit Suisse


cs



, and HSBC


hsbc



—ran a financial services pilot program using Ethereum. Microsoft


msft



and Deloitte have been facilitating experiments on the network too.

“I’m very excited about Ethereum,” says Chris Dixon, a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, a venture capital firm in Silicon Valley that got into the Bitcoin game early on. “It’s probably the most exciting thing that’s happened in the whole space in a couple of years.”

Mark Russinovich, chief technology officer of Microsoft Azure, the tech giant’s cloud arm, echoes Dixon’s enthusiasm. “What’s great about Ethereum is that it is open, flexible, and can be customized to meet a customer’s needs,” he says.

If it sounds as if Ethereum is destined to be Silicon Valley’s latest billion-dollar startup, however, think again. Because Buterin isn’t your typical entrepreneur. He isn’t backed by VC money and he isn’t even based in the Valley—in fact, he’s a vagabond who more or less lives out of a backpack and crashes on couches wherever he happens to be coding. Rather than setting himself up for an IPO payday in the future, he has structured his “startup” as a nonprofit foundation based in Zug, Switzerland. In his role as Ethereum’s chief scientist, Buterin looks to Linus Torvalds, the firebrand inventor of Linux, an open-source computing system that powers many operating systems today, as inspiration.

In that sense, Buterin represents a challenging archetype for the banks and investors lining up to invest in the potentially world-altering technology underlying cryptocurrencies: the unprogrammable programmer.

BOLD VISION Buterin wants to use his technology to radically re-architect the web, upending the current power structure. In the near future, he believes, entire companies could be controlled by crowdsourced algorithms rather than executives. Story on Crypto-currency. Vitalik Buterin created his own digital currency called Etherium. - PHOTO: Vitalik Buterin.-- Photographer: Julie Glassberg for Fortune. BOLD VISION: Buterin wants to use his technology to radically re-architect the web, upending the current power structure. In the near future, he believes, entire companies could be controlled by crowdsourced algorithms rather than executives.Photograph by Julie Glassberg for Fortune

He certainly doesn’t come across as Wall Street’s ideal business partner. On the day I meet him, Buterin, tall and skeletally thin, is wearing a wrinkled T-shirt promoting open-source software and a pink-and-purple-striped Swatch wristwatch with a smirking Cheshire cat on its face. He tends to reply to questions in a voice so measured that it almost sounds computer generated.

But if his affect is flat, Buterin’s ambition is anything but muted. He says his ultimate goal is to use Ethereum to radically re-architect the web—taking power away from traditional brokers and delivering it to the masses. Of course, if his revolution succeeds and Buterin’s technology achieves mass adoption, his plan will have the added benefit of enriching him and other Ether holders.

Before he can upset the world order, though, Buterin must prove that developers can use his technology securely—a legitimate question in the wake of the hack of the DAO, which was constructed on his network. Much of the excitement in the tech community has been shifting toward Ether in recent months and away from other digital monies, like Bitcoin. But in the volatile, idealistic world of cryptocurrencies and their creators, allegiances can change rapidly.

The first of the gTLD blockbusters? Assessing the ‘.shop’ launch figures

Trevor Little

This week the ‘.shop’ gTLD hit general availability, with the registry behind the string revealing that it registered almost 40,000 domains in the first 30 minutes of sales. Watchers of the expanded online space – particularly trademark owners seeking to gauge the need for defensive registrations – have been awaiting the launch of strings that go truly mainstream. So is the early performance of ‘.shop’ a sign that the blockbusters are now arriving?

In January we reported from the Com Laude Domain Conference, at which managing director Nick Wood reflected on the then 11.5 million registrations across the new gTLD space, and noted that “the real blockbusters are yet to launch”. When considering which strings qualify for blockbusters status, a number of factors are important – including whether the strings were hotly contended and whether they have been deemed worthy of significant investment through the ICANN auction process. Thus ‘.app’, which was applied for by 13 applicants and won by Google in a $25 million auction, is most commonly cited as one of the looming blockbusters. However, ‘.shop’ surely qualifies as a potential blockbuster after Japan’s GMO Registry paid $41,501,000 at auction to secure the string. Clearly GMO Registry have identified a possible return on investment that makes such a sum justifiable.

In August, a week before the close of sunrise, over 850 domains had been registered by trademark owners in the string, with European brands accounting for 64% of applicants. US registrants accounted for 23% of sunrise registrations, the largest proportion from a single country. In terms of the sectors that registrations came from, fashion and luxury companies led the way, followed by sports brands. By close of sunrise, applications had been received from 1,182 trademark holders in more than 30 countries.

Priority access then opened on September 1 and on September 17 GMO Registry announced that it had raised over $2 million in revenue to that point. On Monday the ‘.shop’ string – which “aims to become the global home of ecommerce” – hit general availability, and the registry has been quick to publicise early adoption levels. It announced that, in the first 30 minutes of general availability, 39,801 domains were registered (by the two-hour mark this has risen to 45,427 – taking the total number of registrations to 51,755).

Given the investment it made at auction, it is understandable that GMO Registry has been proactive in its PR messaging, repeatedly highlighting registration numbers and revenues accrued to date. And the initial numbers are impressive – the sunrise figures compare favourably to other strings and the early spike during general availability is noteworthy (especially given that, as Kevin Murphy notes on Domain Incite, the retail price is not heavily discounted in a bid to rack up numbers).

It is the long-term trend that will be more telling however. According to ntldstats.com, at time of writing the string is showing 54,128 domains, ranking it 51st in terms of the current new gTLD environment (the current leader in terms of domain numbers is ‘.xyz’, with 6,506,004). While off to a strong start, it has some way to go before it can be termed a blockbuster.

Nevertheless, for trademark owners it is one to keep an eye on. GMO Registry is pitching ‘.shop’ as the domain name “for all online and offline shops”. Should it be adopted as such, companies would be well advised to monitor the use of their brands in the space, because you can bet that counterfeit and unauthorised sellers will be eyeing it as a desirable string to setup online stores.

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Ubuntu’s OpenStack on IBM’s Big Iron | Cloud content from Windows …

If I were Red Hat I would be looking over my shoulder right now; it appears that Ubuntu might be gaining. In just a few years the Linux distribution has gone from being non-existent in the enterprise to being a powerhouse. This is especially true in the cloud, where it’s a dominant force on both sides of the aisle. Not only is it the most deployed operating system on public clouds, its version of OpenStack accounts for over half of OpenStack cloud deployments, used by the likes of Deutsche Telekom, Bloomberg and Time Warner Cable.

The use of its cloud platform is likely to escalate now that IBM and Ubuntu’s parent company, Canonical, have formed a partnership that brings Ubuntu OpenStack to Big Blue’s metal. According to an announcement released September 19 by Ubuntu, its implementation of the open source cloud platform is now available to run on the entire line of IBM servers.

IBM’s LinuxONE and z Systems mainframes already ran Red Hat, SUSE and Ubuntu, with a stack that included Apache Spark, Node.js, MongoDB, MariaDB, PostgreSQL and Chef. But this new announcement means that IBM’s big iron now comes with the same OpenStack functionality as is available on commodity servers.

“IBM and Canonical have been working together to ensure that z Systems, LinuxONE, Power Systems and OpenPOWER customers can have the same Ubuntu usage and management experience that Ubuntu x86 production OpenStack customers have today,” Ubuntu’s announcement read.

Canonical’s quick rise to the top in enterprise open source has been due to a combination of smart partnerships and by investing in research and development. For example, it has partnered with Microsoft on a number of projects, most notably to bring the bash shell to Windows, and its work with Dell has resulted in the XPS Developer Edition Ubuntu laptops, which have been well received by developers and admins.

To bring OpenStack to IBM’s mainframes, it relied on help from its Boston-based OpenStack Interoperability Lab (Ubuntu claims it’s the largest such lab on the planet), which validates OpenStack interoperability across a variety of hardware and software combinations.

Ubuntu’s OpenStack on Big Blue iron should also be good for IBM, which continues to invest heavily in Linux and seems to be moving away from AIX, its proprietary Unix operating system. Both its LinuxONE line, which was introduced last year, and the new OpenPOWER LC servers due out soon, are designed only for Linux.

Can Ethereum-creator Vitalik Buterin Out-Bitcoin Bitcoin? – Fortune

A month after the hack—and mere days after presiding over a controversial vote to initiate a “hard fork” process that would recover the DAO’s stolen funds and make whole its backers—Vitalik Buterin is listening impassively to a guy wearing a beanie cap shaped like a Pokémon dragon. “This is a really tricky game,” says the man in the hat, an assistant professor of computer engineering, as he excitedly begins to lay out a complicated logic puzzle. But before he can get too far, Buterin quietly interrupts with a clever solution. “Oh,” says the Pokémon prof, crestfallen. “That’s actually pretty cool.”

Buterin (No. 31 on 2016 40 Under 40 list), a 22-year-old coder, is visiting the Cornell University campus for a boot camp organized by IC3, or the Initiative for Cryptocurrencies Contracts, an academic consortium that researches peer-to-peer payment systems. Roughly two-dozen programmers are gathered around a long conference table inside Gates Hall (as in Bill and Melinda), the brand-new, steel-plated home to Cornell’s computing and information science departments. The air is thick with talk of “stochastic dominance,” “Merkle trees,” and “zk-SNARKs.”

Although he’s among the youngest in the room, Buterin is indisputably the star of the group. He is, after all, the wunderkind creator of Ethereum, the network on which Ether runs. And Ether is now the biggest rival to Bitcoin, the $10 billion cryptocurrency that mysteriously burst onto the scene less than a decade ago.

BLO.10.01.16.Blockchain.valuation chart

Since its launch last year, the total value of Ether has rocketed from nothing to nearly $1 billion, easily outpacing every other virtual-coin contender. (There are hundreds.) Yet the promise of the technology Buterin has built extends far beyond its possibilities as a speculative digital currency. Ethereum’s boosters believe the network could someday power a host of decentralized applications—censorship-free social networks, public utility ride-hailing apps, crowd-sourced prediction markets and investment firms, even governments.

Buterin’s creation is already making inroads beyond the coder set. Fortune 500 companies have begun trials with the technology. Last year Samsung and IBM


ibm



launched a project to coordinate Internet-connected devices, like washing machines and lightbulbs, over an Ethereum-based network. At the beginning of this year 11 banks—including Wells Fargo


wfc



, Barclays


bcs



, UBS


ubs



, Credit Suisse


cs



, and HSBC


hsbc



—ran a financial services pilot program using Ethereum. Microsoft


msft



and Deloitte have been facilitating experiments on the network too.

“I’m very excited about Ethereum,” says Chris Dixon, a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, a venture capital firm in Silicon Valley that got into the Bitcoin game early on. “It’s probably the most exciting thing that’s happened in the whole space in a couple of years.”

Mark Russinovich, chief technology officer of Microsoft Azure, the tech giant’s cloud arm, echoes Dixon’s enthusiasm. “What’s great about Ethereum is that it is open, flexible, and can be customized to meet a customer’s needs,” he says.

If it sounds as if Ethereum is destined to be Silicon Valley’s latest billion-dollar startup, however, think again. Because Buterin isn’t your typical entrepreneur. He isn’t backed by VC money and he isn’t even based in the Valley—in fact, he’s a vagabond who more or less lives out of a backpack and crashes on couches wherever he happens to be coding. Rather than setting himself up for an IPO payday in the future, he has structured his “startup” as a nonprofit foundation based in Zug, Switzerland. In his role as Ethereum’s chief scientist, Buterin looks to Linus Torvalds, the firebrand inventor of Linux, an open-source computing system that powers many operating systems today, as inspiration.

In that sense, Buterin represents a challenging archetype for the banks and investors lining up to invest in the potentially world-altering technology underlying cryptocurrencies: the unprogrammable programmer.

BOLD VISION Buterin wants to use his technology to radically re-architect the web, upending the current power structure. In the near future, he believes, entire companies could be controlled by crowdsourced algorithms rather than executives. Story on Crypto-currency. Vitalik Buterin created his own digital currency called Etherium. - PHOTO: Vitalik Buterin.-- Photographer: Julie Glassberg for Fortune. BOLD VISION: Buterin wants to use his technology to radically re-architect the web, upending the current power structure. In the near future, he believes, entire companies could be controlled by crowdsourced algorithms rather than executives.Photograph by Julie Glassberg for Fortune

He certainly doesn’t come across as Wall Street’s ideal business partner. On the day I meet him, Buterin, tall and skeletally thin, is wearing a wrinkled T-shirt promoting open-source software and a pink-and-purple-striped Swatch wristwatch with a smirking Cheshire cat on its face. He tends to reply to questions in a voice so measured that it almost sounds computer generated.

But if his affect is flat, Buterin’s ambition is anything but muted. He says his ultimate goal is to use Ethereum to radically re-architect the web—taking power away from traditional brokers and delivering it to the masses. Of course, if his revolution succeeds and Buterin’s technology achieves mass adoption, his plan will have the added benefit of enriching him and other Ether holders.

Before he can upset the world order, though, Buterin must prove that developers can use his technology securely—a legitimate question in the wake of the hack of the DAO, which was constructed on his network. Much of the excitement in the tech community has been shifting toward Ether in recent months and away from other digital monies, like Bitcoin. But in the volatile, idealistic world of cryptocurrencies and their creators, allegiances can change rapidly.

Bird & Bird wins landmark first UDRP decision against a ".feedback" gTLD for the De Beers Group of companies

De Beers has succeeded in its complaint against the registrant of the domain name debeers.feedback. The decision is significant as it is the first decision in relation to a .feedback gTLD registration and is good news for brand owners – contrary to the initial views of the registry owners at launch, they can successfully challenge such registrations.

Certain of the new gTLDs released recently have caused serious concerns to brand owners, because of the risk of prominent sites being created in order to attack or tarnish their brand (including .sucks, .xxx and so on). New gTLDs such as .feedback and .review raise more nuanced issues of free speech, but it is now clear that arguments to that effect are not the complete trump card which registry owners hoped they would be. Brand owners should be encouraged to stand up to attempts to hijack their marks, particularly where the facts show that the site in question is being used in bad faith.

In the debeers.feedback decision, the WIPO Administrative Panel held that the three requirements for a successful complaint under the UDRP (Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy) were all met, namely that:

  1. the disputed domain name was identical or confusingly similar to a trade mark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights;
  2. the Respondent had no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and
  3. the disputed domain name had been registered and was being used in bad faith.

The Panel therefore ordered that the disputed domain name debeers.feedback be transferred back to the Complainant, De Beers.

Background

The Respondent in this case registered the domain name debeers.feedback close to the end of the “Early Access Period” for the .feedback domain, before names in the domain became open to “General Availability” in January 2016. While some domains on the .feedback registry have been assigned a fixed cost, others invite potential registrants to “make offer” to the registry owners, e.g. Gucci.feedback. Other “review” gTLDs have similarly staged pricing structures for what the registry owners deem to be “premium” domains, making it difficult for brand owners to acquire a comprehensive domain portfolio without incurring very significant costs.

Jay Westerdal, the founder of DomainTools.com, commented at the initial launch of the .feedback gTLD that:

No trademark (sic) infringement will occur… the sites are all geared towards free speech and giving reviews. Confusing the public that the brand is running the site will not happen, each site has a disclaimer and makes it clear the brand is not running the site.

These comments were designed to bolster the legitimacy of .feedback domains and raised questions over a brand owner’s ability to challenge third party registrations of a .feedback domain, and indeed of other review style sites, such as .sucks and .review.

However, various elements of the registration of debeers.feedback suggested that it was made in bad faith and a complaint was therefore made to the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Centre.

Discussion and Findings

A) Identical or confusingly similar to a trade mark

It was held by the Panel that De Beers clearly had proven ownership of numerous registered trade marks for DE BEERS around the world, and the disputed domain name was identical to the De Beers owned marks. The website also made use of the De Beers logo and contained links to the company’s website and official social media. This requirement was therefore clearly met.

B) The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the domain name; and

C) The domain was registered and used in bad faith

A number of arguments were put forward to demonstrate why the Respondent had no rights in the domain name and that the registration was both confusing to consumers and made in bad faith, including:

  1. Questions over the veracity of the reviews posted on the site;
  2. The nature of the disclaimer being small, insignificant and unnoticeable; and
  3. The use of a privacy service to register the disputed domain name.

The Panel’s decision only dealt with one of these arguments, that relating to the veracity of the reviews. Eleven reviews were present on the website attached to the disputed domain name, of which five only appeared after a cease and desist letter was sent to the registrant. Interestingly, all five of these reviews supposedly pre-dated the letter of demand, which the Panel regarded as “extremely suspicious”.

To show the registration of a domain name is made in “good faith”, WIPO Panels require “evidence that the domain name is actually being used for the genuine airing of grievances or at least demonstrable preparation for such use.” The Respondent had no explanation for the belated appearance of the “reviews” dated before the letter of demand was sent, resulting in the Panel finding that De Beers had demonstrated a prima facie case that the reviews were not genuine and the website to which the disputed domain name resolved was not being used in good faith for legitimate non-commercial or fair use purposes.

The Panel therefore ruled in De Beers’ favour and deemed it unnecessary to address the other arguments advanced.

Conclusion

New gTLDs are still in their relative infancy and so it is as yet unclear what importance they will play in the online world. However, given that Google has recently spent over $25 million to buy the .app registry, it seems likely that sites with new gTLDs will begin to receive more and more prominence in search engine results. The ultimate fear for brand owners is that sites featuring their brands in conjunction with unsavoury content begin to appear next to brand owners’ own websites in search results.

The debeers.feedback decision is relatively narrow because the Panel accepted De Beers’ arguments relating to the legitimacy of the reviews on the website, and did not need to address the other arguments raised in the complaint which would have been of more general applicability. It is encouraging for brand owners though, and confirms the cost-effective nature of the UDRP complaints process as a means of controlling brand reputation in the online world.

Melinda Willis (Legal Advisor, Anglo American plc speaking on behalf of the De Beers Group of Companies) said, “De Beers is very pleased with the outcome of this first decision in relation to a .feedback gTLD registration. As a leader in the luxury sector, De Beers has made huge investments over a number of generations to grow the value of its brands. As any misuse of our IP could seriously undermine our brand equity, De Beers takes the protection of its IP very seriously. This includes adapting our brand protection and enforcement strategies to the ever-changing online world including, in this case, the new gTLD regime .”

Unimpressed with Ubuntu 16.10? Yakkety Yak… don’t talk back

Before I dive into what’s new in Ubuntu 16.10, called Yakkety Yak, let’s just get this sentence out of the way: Ubuntu 16.10 will not feature Unity 8 or the new Mir display server.

I believe that’s the seventh time I’ve written that since Unity 8 was announced and here we are on the second beta for 16.10.

Maybe that’s why they named it Unity 8. Whatever the case, Unity 8 is available for testing if you’d like to try it. So far I haven’t managed to get it working on any of the hardware I use, which goes a long way to explaining why it’s not part of Ubuntu proper yet.

Unfortunately, without Unity 8 and the accompanying Mir display server there’s not much to get excited about in Ubuntu 16.10 – or, at least, the main Unity-based desktop version of Ubuntu. There are some great releases coming from various Ubuntu flavors, notably Ubuntu MATE which will feature the hot off the press MATE 1.6.

The first things you’ll notice in this beta is that if you decide to grab a copy of the 16.10 beta is that the installation disk is considerably larger than it used to be. It could be argued that keeping the ISO down to CD size is an arbitrary limit which, given that CD drives appear to be on their way out, is no longer necessary. But my internet connection has not become any faster since 16.04 and frankly the larger download makes getting Ubuntu that much more difficult – particularly in places where download speeds are not what they are in the west.

At the same time, most of the additional space is given over to language packs and the like, not necessarily bloat and additional apps, so perhaps it balances out (if you needed additional language packs anyway).

Whatever the case, the change appears to be permanent, so chuck your CDs and brew an extra cup of coffee, downloading Ubuntu is going to take a bit longer than it used to.

Once downloaded and installed the first thing that jumps out at you is that Ubuntu 16.10 looks just like the last seven releases. Unity 7 remains the default and it has only seen the barest of updates –bug fixes and security patches only. To find something new in this release you’ll have to go spelunking into Ubuntu’s set of default applications.

The most welcome improvements in the default applications come in the new Ubuntu Software app, which made its debut with this spring’s Ubuntu 16.04 release. Among the improvements in 16.10 Software are improved support for Snap packages as well as support for a variety of things that used to fall outside what Software handled. For example, Software will now track and install non-GUI apps, libraries and fonts alongside your “regular” applications. Software is also noticeably faster when browsing for applications.

Ubuntu 16.10 beta 2 software center

The Software Center is faster than before and offers support for non-GUI apps

It’s the Snap package improvements that are most exciting for users who want to keep up with the latest and greatest. For the uninitiated, Snap packages are self-contained packages that include all of their dependencies. This has two advantages over traditional packages, which pull their dependencies from the system. First it makes it easy to install two applications that depend on different versions of the same dependency since each Snap already contains everything it needs. This is huge win for Ubuntu given how out of date some of the its GNOME packages are. The other big advantage is that it’s easier and safer to update your userland software. Which is to say, you can have your LTS release and get your latest and greatest application updates too. Because there’s no danger of pulling upgrades that mess up the rest of your system, you can always have the latest software without having to run the bleeding edge of the actual system software.

The problem with Snap packages in Ubuntu 16.04 is that there aren’t very many of them and installing them is a bit of a pain. This release does smooth over some of the rough edges and makes installation a bit easier.

It’s tough to find reasons to recommend you upgrade to 16.10. If some application you rely on isn’t working with 16.04, especially something with GNOME dependencies beyond the outdated versions of GNOME software that 16.04 offered, then 16.10 might be worth a look – most applications in this release will be from GNOME 3.20. ®

Bitcoin Finds Berth at Sberbank’s Moscow Office Despite Ban Talk …

While Russian authorities are still trying to define the legal status of bitcoin, the virtual currency has found use in Moscow in the lobby of the country’s biggest bank.

A coffee stand at the headquarters of state-owned Sberbank PJSC is one of the first Moscow vendors to take bitcoin, allowing clients to buy espresso and croissants with the crypto-currency even as some Russian regulators threaten to ban its use.

Russia is late to the bitcoin party, still debating its legality even as one of the people who helped popularize the once-trendy digital currency globally says the software that it relies on is too rigid to gain wide adoption. The economy could benefit if the Kremlin abandons plans to criminalize virtual currencies because it might lead to the more active development of innovative technologies, according to Gil Luria, an analyst at Wedbush Securities Inc. in Los Angeles.

“Most governments have come to the conclusion that banning bitcoin and other crypto-currencies would both suppress real innovation that is developing around this new technology as well as futile, since anybody with an internet connection can buy and sell bitcoin – that is one of the key benefits,” Luria said by e-mail.

The Bank of Russia equated bitcoins to a financial pyramid in 2014, while the Finance Ministry this year drafted a law that threatened fines and imprisonment of up to seven years for anyone using crypto-currencies.

Virtual Currency

The government has softened its stance of late, with Deputy Finance Ministry Alexey Moiseev saying in August that the law will probably only target the mining of digital currencies. The central bank is looking into the technology, Deputy Governor Olga Skorobogatova said this month.

Stefan Thomas, who introduced millions of people to the concept of the virtual currency with his 2011 “What is Bitcoin?” YouTube video, complained in an August essay that blockchain, the ledger software that makes it possible, is “a pain to work with.”

Sberbank’s Chief Executive Officer Herman Gref said last year that he owns some bitcoins. He said on Friday that Russia shouldn’t ban crypto-currencies because it would hinder the country’s attempts to develop new technology.

While the coffee shop in Sberbank’s headquarters is an independent vendor, it’s counting on such attitudes at the executive level to enable it to continue accepting bitcoin, according to its co-owner Timofei Kulikov. He began the experiment after deciding it was too expensive to mine the currency himself, saying it’s easier to “sell for bitcoins something that people buy every day.”

While he accepts payment in bitcoins for coffee and food at the cafe, which opened in August, he reimburses the business in rubles so that the transaction is effectively between the customer and himself as two individuals. One bitcoin was worth $606.96 as of 1:43 p.m. in Moscow, enough for nearly 400 cups of coffee.

“There’s not a single law that would prohibit buying bitcoins to me as an individual,” said Kulikov, a law graduate.

Bird & Bird wins landmark first UDRP decision against a ".feedback …

De Beers has succeeded in its complaint against the registrant of the domain name debeers.feedback. The decision is significant as it is the first decision in relation to a .feedback gTLD registration and is good news for brand owners – contrary to the initial views of the registry owners at launch, they can successfully challenge such registrations.

Certain of the new gTLDs released recently have caused serious concerns to brand owners, because of the risk of prominent sites being created in order to attack or tarnish their brand (including .sucks, .xxx and so on). New gTLDs such as .feedback and .review raise more nuanced issues of free speech, but it is now clear that arguments to that effect are not the complete trump card which registry owners hoped they would be. Brand owners should be encouraged to stand up to attempts to hijack their marks, particularly where the facts show that the site in question is being used in bad faith.

In the debeers.feedback decision, the WIPO Administrative Panel held that the three requirements for a successful complaint under the UDRP (Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy) were all met, namely that:

  1. the disputed domain name was identical or confusingly similar to a trade mark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights;
  2. the Respondent had no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and
  3. the disputed domain name had been registered and was being used in bad faith.

The Panel therefore ordered that the disputed domain name debeers.feedback be transferred back to the Complainant, De Beers.

Background

The Respondent in this case registered the domain name debeers.feedback close to the end of the “Early Access Period” for the .feedback domain, before names in the domain became open to “General Availability” in January 2016. While some domains on the .feedback registry have been assigned a fixed cost, others invite potential registrants to “make offer” to the registry owners, e.g. Gucci.feedback. Other “review” gTLDs have similarly staged pricing structures for what the registry owners deem to be “premium” domains, making it difficult for brand owners to acquire a comprehensive domain portfolio without incurring very significant costs.

Jay Westerdal, the founder of DomainTools.com, commented at the initial launch of the .feedback gTLD that:

No trademark (sic) infringement will occur… the sites are all geared towards free speech and giving reviews. Confusing the public that the brand is running the site will not happen, each site has a disclaimer and makes it clear the brand is not running the site.

These comments were designed to bolster the legitimacy of .feedback domains and raised questions over a brand owner’s ability to challenge third party registrations of a .feedback domain, and indeed of other review style sites, such as .sucks and .review.

However, various elements of the registration of debeers.feedback suggested that it was made in bad faith and a complaint was therefore made to the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Centre.

Discussion and Findings

A) Identical or confusingly similar to a trade mark

It was held by the Panel that De Beers clearly had proven ownership of numerous registered trade marks for DE BEERS around the world, and the disputed domain name was identical to the De Beers owned marks. The website also made use of the De Beers logo and contained links to the company’s website and official social media. This requirement was therefore clearly met.

B) The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the domain name; and

C) The domain was registered and used in bad faith

A number of arguments were put forward to demonstrate why the Respondent had no rights in the domain name and that the registration was both confusing to consumers and made in bad faith, including:

  1. Questions over the veracity of the reviews posted on the site;
  2. The nature of the disclaimer being small, insignificant and unnoticeable; and
  3. The use of a privacy service to register the disputed domain name.

The Panel’s decision only dealt with one of these arguments, that relating to the veracity of the reviews. Eleven reviews were present on the website attached to the disputed domain name, of which five only appeared after a cease and desist letter was sent to the registrant. Interestingly, all five of these reviews supposedly pre-dated the letter of demand, which the Panel regarded as “extremely suspicious”.

To show the registration of a domain name is made in “good faith”, WIPO Panels require “evidence that the domain name is actually being used for the genuine airing of grievances or at least demonstrable preparation for such use.” The Respondent had no explanation for the belated appearance of the “reviews” dated before the letter of demand was sent, resulting in the Panel finding that De Beers had demonstrated a prima facie case that the reviews were not genuine and the website to which the disputed domain name resolved was not being used in good faith for legitimate non-commercial or fair use purposes.

The Panel therefore ruled in De Beers’ favour and deemed it unnecessary to address the other arguments advanced.

Conclusion

New gTLDs are still in their relative infancy and so it is as yet unclear what importance they will play in the online world. However, given that Google has recently spent over $25 million to buy the .app registry, it seems likely that sites with new gTLDs will begin to receive more and more prominence in search engine results. The ultimate fear for brand owners is that sites featuring their brands in conjunction with unsavoury content begin to appear next to brand owners’ own websites in search results.

The debeers.feedback decision is relatively narrow because the Panel accepted De Beers’ arguments relating to the legitimacy of the reviews on the website, and did not need to address the other arguments raised in the complaint which would have been of more general applicability. It is encouraging for brand owners though, and confirms the cost-effective nature of the UDRP complaints process as a means of controlling brand reputation in the online world.

Melinda Willis (Legal Advisor, Anglo American plc speaking on behalf of the De Beers Group of Companies) said, “De Beers is very pleased with the outcome of this first decision in relation to a .feedback gTLD registration. As a leader in the luxury sector, De Beers has made huge investments over a number of generations to grow the value of its brands. As any misuse of our IP could seriously undermine our brand equity, De Beers takes the protection of its IP very seriously. This includes adapting our brand protection and enforcement strategies to the ever-changing online world including, in this case, the new gTLD regime .”

Unimpressed with Ubuntu 16.10? Yakkety Yak… don’t talk back

Before I dive into what’s new in Ubuntu 16.10, called Yakkety Yak, let’s just get this sentence out of the way: Ubuntu 16.10 will not feature Unity 8 or the new Mir display server.

I believe that’s the seventh time I’ve written that since Unity 8 was announced and here we are on the second beta for 16.10.

Maybe that’s why they named it Unity 8. Whatever the case, Unity 8 is available for testing if you’d like to try it. So far I haven’t managed to get it working on any of the hardware I use, which goes a long way to explaining why it’s not part of Ubuntu proper yet.

Unfortunately, without Unity 8 and the accompanying Mir display server there’s not much to get excited about in Ubuntu 16.10 – or, at least, the main Unity-based desktop version of Ubuntu. There are some great releases coming from various Ubuntu flavors, notably Ubuntu MATE which will feature the hot off the press MATE 1.6.

The first things you’ll notice in this beta is that if you decide to grab a copy of the 16.10 beta is that the installation disk is considerably larger than it used to be. It could be argued that keeping the ISO down to CD size is an arbitrary limit which, given that CD drives appear to be on their way out, is no longer necessary. But my internet connection has not become any faster since 16.04 and frankly the larger download makes getting Ubuntu that much more difficult – particularly in places where download speeds are not what they are in the west.

At the same time, most of the additional space is given over to language packs and the like, not necessarily bloat and additional apps, so perhaps it balances out (if you needed additional language packs anyway).

Whatever the case, the change appears to be permanent, so chuck your CDs and brew an extra cup of coffee, downloading Ubuntu is going to take a bit longer than it used to.

Once downloaded and installed the first thing that jumps out at you is that Ubuntu 16.10 looks just like the last seven releases. Unity 7 remains the default and it has only seen the barest of updates –bug fixes and security patches only. To find something new in this release you’ll have to go spelunking into Ubuntu’s set of default applications.

The most welcome improvements in the default applications come in the new Ubuntu Software app, which made its debut with this spring’s Ubuntu 16.04 release. Among the improvements in 16.10 Software are improved support for Snap packages as well as support for a variety of things that used to fall outside what Software handled. For example, Software will now track and install non-GUI apps, libraries and fonts alongside your “regular” applications. Software is also noticeably faster when browsing for applications.

Ubuntu 16.10 beta 2 software center

The Software Center is faster than before and offers support for non-GUI apps

It’s the Snap package improvements that are most exciting for users who want to keep up with the latest and greatest. For the uninitiated, Snap packages are self-contained packages that include all of their dependencies. This has two advantages over traditional packages, which pull their dependencies from the system. First it makes it easy to install two applications that depend on different versions of the same dependency since each Snap already contains everything it needs. This is huge win for Ubuntu given how out of date some of the its GNOME packages are. The other big advantage is that it’s easier and safer to update your userland software. Which is to say, you can have your LTS release and get your latest and greatest application updates too. Because there’s no danger of pulling upgrades that mess up the rest of your system, you can always have the latest software without having to run the bleeding edge of the actual system software.

The problem with Snap packages in Ubuntu 16.04 is that there aren’t very many of them and installing them is a bit of a pain. This release does smooth over some of the rough edges and makes installation a bit easier.

It’s tough to find reasons to recommend you upgrade to 16.10. If some application you rely on isn’t working with 16.04, especially something with GNOME dependencies beyond the outdated versions of GNOME software that 16.04 offered, then 16.10 might be worth a look – most applications in this release will be from GNOME 3.20. ®

China’s risk-loving mom and pop investors have abandoned local stock markets for bitcoin

China’s individual investors are known for their huge appetite for new assets. The government’s strict currency controls make it difficult for them to invest overseas, so their money has traditionally had to go somewhere inside the country’s borders. That’s why from property to copper to domain names to fish bladders, speculation fuels asset markets in China.

Less than two years ago stocks were hot, and the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index doubled from June 2014 to June 2015. After the index tumbled last summer, though, there’s still no sign that investors are coming back to the casino-like bourses any time soon.

Where are they heading now? One word—bitcoin.

Over 94% of bitcoin trading involved Chinese yuan in August, up from about 60% a year earlier, according to data provider Bitcoinity. China’s two biggest exchanges, Huobi and OKCoin, collectively account for more than 90% of global trading. OKCoin reached more than 1 million registered users in the first half of this year, thanks to a user growth rate that was five times greater than a year earlier.

That’s a big shift. The bitcoin markets were once dominated by trading in US dollars, and the Tokyo-based exchange Mt. Gox. That ended in early 2014, as yuan trading shot up in the wake of bitcoin’s historic bull run to over $1,000 a coin, and Mt. Gox’s spectacular implosion.

Chinese traders’ dominance in the bitcoin markets has had little negative impact on the cryptocurrency—so far. That could change if mainland regulators target Chinese exchanges, raising the specter of plummeting liquidity, as bitcoin traders saw briefly in 2014. China’s mainland retail investors are also notoriously fickle, historically abandoning one asset class for another as volatility dries up or there’s a major downturn. While bitcoin is hot right now in China, that could all change in weeks or months, adding a new level of uncertainty to the cryptocurrency’s future.

Even now, China’s latest bitcoin frenzy bears a striking resemblance to the last stock market rally, as the market is dominated by speculation and moves on rumors. Small investors prefer the virtual currency to stocks, because trading bitcoin in Chinese exchanges is more flexible, riskier and, accordingly, has higher returns.

“Chinese people are known for their love of gambling,” said Eric Mu, chief marketing officer of HaoBTC, a Beijing-based bitcoin wallet. “Bitcoin fluctuates wildly. It’s easy for you to make money, and also to lose money.” Really, there is “no big difference” between bitcoin and gambling, he added.

Fast money, no government

Huang, 32, a father of two preschool kids from northeastern Shangdong province, who wished to be identified only by his surname, quit his job as a mechanic in February to become an at-home, full-time bitcoin trader.

“Why have you lost so much money in the stock market?” he says he asks his friends, trying to persuade them to invest in the digital currency. “Because it’s controlled by China’s policy.” Then he’ll explain that bitcoin is decentralized and can’t be controlled by any government. What’s more important, he said, is that “you can make money fast.”

A self-taught “digital currency expert,” Huang says his life is all about bitcoin except when “eating, sleeping, and doing housework.” Despite no previous trading experience, he claims to have tripled his investment in bitcoin, using half of his family’s savings, in the past six months. Because his wife is a full-time housewife, that’s the only source of family income right now.

The price of bitcoin soared to a two-year high in mid-June before the supply of new bitcoin was halved a month later. Huang said his friends who followed his advice and bet on the coming price surge made a killing. They sent him gifts to express their gratitude, he said, including “white liquors, very good ones.”

Liu Fang, a 26 year-old from northeastern Heilongjiang province, is less radical than Huang. By day she is a website designer at a tech startup. By night she makes short-term bitcoin trades on her smartphone. Liu began to invest in bitcoin in 2014, shortly after bitcoin hit an all-time high of over $1,000. “At that time I only knew it was something like stocks, something you can make money” with, she said.

Liu decided that bitcoin is even better than stocks, because it’s more volatile and more convenient. In 2013, when she was investing in stocks, she said, she hated that she had to halt trading after the markets were closed or when an individual stock hit its 10% daily limit, up or down. But now she can trade bitcoin 24/7. Every night she spends a couple hours placing orders on OKCoin’s mobile app. So far this year she has earned about 50,000 yuan (about $7,500), or 20% of her total investment, she said.

Half of her funding comes from her mother, who has no idea what bitcoin is but trusts her daughter to invest for her. After all, “she can afford to lose the money,” Liu said.

Amid China’s slowdown, Chinese retail investors are looking for places to put their money besides low-interest savings accounts, the moribund stock market, or the fragile housing market. The investing landscape is so unfriendly that many fall for financial scams packaged as “wealth management products,” which promise zero risks and annual returns as high as 30%.

Bitcoin with Chinese characteristics

China’s bitcoin market has several unique characteristics. For one thing, Chinese bitcoin exchanges don’t charge users transaction fees—an anomaly in the crypto markets. Huobi was the first to waive transaction fees when it started in September 2013, as part of plan to attract a larger user base and then make a profit by offering other “value-added services” like margin trading, a spokesperson tells Quartz. OKCoin, started one month later, followed its rival’s business model. Otherwise, it “would have been wiped out of the market,” OKCoin founder and CEO Star Xu says.

That helps to explain China’s dominance in bitcoin trading. Speculators—or computers—can buy and sell bitcoin throughout the day in China and pocket any tiny difference with no cost. More than 80% of Huobi users are day traders, while only 13% hold bitcoin long-term as a safe-haven asset. Automated trading, performed by pre-programmed instructions, accounts for nearly 80% of the total volume on Huobi, the exchange says. OKCoin didn’t reveal its users’ trading strategies, but says around 50% of the trading on the platform is automated.

Beijing’s capital controls, which mean yuan can’t easily be converted into other currencies, add another unique element. From time to time, a “China premium” emerges, reflecting both the high volume in the Chinese market, and the difficulty in cashing out of yuan. One such period was in May (paywall), when bitcoin prices soared, and a pronounced China premium of up to 9% emerged for several days—fodder for nimble arbitrageurs.

Then there’s the miners, the server farms that process bitcoin transactions. Chinese mining pools have emerged as the world’s largest bloc of miners, and make up 50% of the total processing power devoted to bitcoin transactions. While this has raised concerns over a concentration of power (paywall) in the hands of Chinese miners, which could allow them to collectively block or adopt certain core software changes, it also adds a regular flow of bitcoin to Chinese exchanges.

Miners typically sell the coins they unlock to fund their day-to-day operations. This boosts trading volume on those exchanges, says Arthur Hayes, a former prop trader at Citigroup who’s now chief executive at BitMEX, a Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency derivatives trading platform. “There’s more supply of bitcoin in Chinese hands from the start than anywhere else in the world,” he says. “So if you’re going to trade it, where’s the supply? It’s in China.”

Beijing’s global reach

China’s bitcoin markets have plenty of liquidity, but only people with mainland bank accounts can access them. China’s capital controls mean that it’s difficult to establish a mainland bank account, and harder still for an international trader to repatriate arbitrage profits out of the mainland and into another currency. “For a non-Chinese person [liquidity in China] has zero impact,” says Hayes. “As a non-Chinese person, you can’t interact with the banking system.”

Even though Chinese volume is siloed off from other bitcoin markets, the concentration of trading activity there means regulators in Beijing could have an outsized impact if they decide to focus on the cryptocurrency. Agencies in the US have already shown a willingness to extend their authority to bitcoin markets that deal with American customers, fining Bitfinex, a Hong Kong-registered exchange, for failure to comply fined with US margin financing rules.

In 2013, China’s central bank banned financial institutions and payment services from bitcoin-related business, but Beijing has made no rules covering bitcoin exchanges. Still, they have impacted prices.

In 2014, bitcoin’s price plummeted 10% after liquidity on Chinese exchanges dried up in a flash, when banks were reportedly told by the regulator not to accept deposits from bitcoin exchanges. That stance has since been relaxed, and mainland regulators appear content to leave bitcoin markets alone, but the future is anyone’s guess. “Yes, they definitely could [disrupt global bitcoin trading],” Hayes says.

The small short

How do Chinese exchanges make a profit? Both Huobi and OKCoin charge users to transfer bitcoin from their exchange accounts to bitcoin wallets, a fee of 0.0001 to 0.001 bitcoin each time, or similarly, yuan to their bank accounts, a fee of 0.3% to 2%. They also collect commissions when offering margin trading services, which are essentially loans for investing that carry interest rate of approximately 0.1% per day. OKCoin says margin trading accounts for around 20% of the exchange’s total trading volume, while Huobi refused to reveal the number.

Margin trading lets investors borrow yuan or bitcoin from the exchanges to boost their bets, magnifying both profits and losses. Both Huobi and OKCoin offer a leverage of 1:1 up to 1:5. That means you can borrow up to five bitcoin for every one bitcoin deposited. They offer similar leverage with yuan. “There’s obviously lots of bitcoin enthusiasts in China,” says Hayes of BitMEX. But “it’s the speculators who make exchanges money. They’re willing to put in the leverage to trade.”

Margin trading also allows investors to “short” bitcoin, or bet that its value will go down. Few exchanges outside China give traders the option to short currencies.

This is exactly how Xu Xiaoxiao, a 24-year-old software engineer from the eastern city of Hefei, made a big fortune during this year’s $65 million exchange heist. After the hack on Bitfinex was revealed at 2am Hong Kong time on Aug. 3, bitcoin’s price dropped some 14% the next day. Between 6am and 7am that day, Xu made 25% of his principal by shorting bitcoin on Huobi, thanks to other investors’ “panic selling,” he said.

Overall, Xu has grown his 20,000 yuan investment—half of his savings—by 15% after he began trading bitcoin in June. Previously he had only invested in equity funds, but he wanted a new place to put his hard-earned money after stocks tanked last year. “Trading bitcoin is just like trading gold or silver,” he said, but only with higher returns.

Xu learned margin trading quickly—but not everyone is like him. In a WeChat group Xu belongs to, nearly 300 Huobi users who own margin trading accounts actively discuss trading strategies. Some unseasoned investors ask others when to go long or short, Xue said, while others complain that they shouldn’t have leveraged themselves too much after losing money. “Someone has even lost one year’s salary,” he said.

Shen Feng, 22, managed a Hangzhou-based hedge fund launched in 2015 that specialized in automated bitcoin trading for retail investors. The fund had attracted more than 4 million yuan ($600,000) from around 200 investors by May of this year, when Shen left his job for family reasons, he said.

In mid-2015, the average daily return of the fund was as high as 3%, Shen said, because the Chinese market is especially sensitive to rumors about things like hacking. Even as the market became less volatile, the fund still had a 0.1% to 0.2% daily return in May, he said, or approximately 40% annually.

His clients were basically speculators who didn’t care about bitcoin’s future or the technology behind it, Shen said. “To be honest,” he added, “I still don’t really understand bitcoin now.”

New gTLD Sunrise Periods for Gaming, Entertainment and Retail Companies

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If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

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We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

How to: Install Google Chrome web browser on Ubuntu Linux (and uninstall Firefox)

HowToGuide

Ubuntu comes with a lot of quality software pre-installed. Unfortunately, the default web browser, Mozilla Firefox, has been on the decline — it is slow and clunky. On Linux, Google Chrome is now the top web browser, and it is the best way to experience Adobe Flash content too (if you still need it).

Installing Google Chrome on the Linux-based operating system is not totally straightforward. This is unfortunate, as the search-giant’s web browser is an important part of having an overall quality experience on Ubuntu. Don’t worry, however, as we will help you to both install the wonderful Google Chrome and uninstall the disappointing Mozilla Firefox.

UbuntuChrome02

First things first, you must download the appropriate file here. Scroll down until you see “Linux”. There are three available versions — Stable, Beta, and Dev. You will want to select ‘Stable’ as it is quite literally the most stable. It is designed for end users that are wanting to surf the web with as few bugs as possible. Beta and Dev are designed for bug-hunters and developers and should be avoided by home users.

UbuntuChrome01

You will then be given the options of “64 bit .deb (For Debian/Ubuntu)” and “64 bit .rpm (For Fedora/openSUSE)”. Since you are using Ubuntu, you will want to select the former. If you are coming from Windows, you can think of a .deb file as being sort of like a .exe file. You will want to double-click the file from where you downloaded it.

ALSO READ: Canonical makes subscribing to Ubuntu Advantage professional Linux support easier

Once opened, it will launch the Ubuntu Software Center. This center is designed for not only finding available packages, but installing downloaded .deb files too. Once it completes installing the browser, you can launch Google Chrome immediately by searching for “Chrome” in global search. You can save it to the launcher for convenience too (recommended).

Lastly, you will want to uninstall Firefox, but this is not required. Having two web browsers is not necessarily a bad thing, but if you won’t be using Mozilla’s browser, why keep it? You can remove it easily in Terminal with the below command. You will be prompted for your password to start the process.

“sudo apt-get remove firefox”

Congratulations! You have now removed Mozilla Firefox and installed Google Chrome.

Image credit: Mascha Tace/Shutterstock

Bitcoin Price Slipping From $600, Downside Risk

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Bitcoin price looks to be slipping from $600 and 4,000 CNY in some exchanges exchanges. Failure to hold this critical level opens the possibility of another corrective wave of decline.

This analysis is provided by xbt.social with a 3-hour delay. Read the full analysis here. Not a member? Join now.

Bitcoin Price Analysis

Time of analysis: 12h00 UTC Sunday

Bitstamp 4-Hour Candle Chart

selection_20160925_003

From the analysis pages of xbt.social, earlier today:

Price is grappling with support and resistance at $600 and 4,000 CNY across exchanges.

In the 4hr chart we see that price had recently used the 200MA (red) as support. Yet, RSI had advanced too far too soon and formed reverse divergence to an RSI peak from 2 weeks ago (magenta). Price is, hence, forced into correction. The pale magenta trendlines above and below price imply a consolidation range that should see the Bollinger Bands continue to narrow around price in the 4hr and 1day charts.

If the current correction were to pull below the 4hr 200MA (and $550 support), then a plunge to $550 is possible: this level corresponds to a 2.618 Fib extension target, as well as a 50% retracement level (scale right) of the entire advance since the early August low. Both of these Fibonacci levels are frequently targeted by the bitcoin price chart.

Summary

Bitcoin price must hold $600 in order to continue advance. The apparent reluctance to make upside progress above $600 may forewarn another downward correction. Will we see advance into the end of the year? The largest timeframes imply “yes”. From the 1day timeframe down it appears that it must happen either via a prior consolidation (several weeks around $600) or a drop-and-bounce to $550.

Bitstamp Depth Chart and Buy/Sell Volume

selection_20160925_002

Click here for the CCN.LA interactive bitcoin-price chart.

What do readers think? Please comment below.

This analysis is provided by xbt.social with a 3-hour delay. Read the full analysis here. Not a member? Join now and receive a $29 discount using the code CCN29.

Readers can follow Bitcoin price analysis updates every day on CCN.LA. A Global Economic Outlook report is published every Monday.

Disclaimer

The writer trades Bitcoin. Trade and Investment is risky. CCN.LA accepts no liability for losses incurred as a result of anything written in this Bitcoin price analysis report.

Bitcoin price charts from TradingView.
Image from iStock/Dekart.

New gTLD Sunrise Periods for Gaming, Entertainment and Retail Companies

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the “Service”) through its website (the “Website”) as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement (“Policy”). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users’ names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user’s experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the “opt-out of future email” option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

Ubuntu tees up OpenStack on IBM’s iron

Canonical’s OpenStack spin has landed on IBM’s Power hardware as part of zSystems’ Linux stack.

The Ubuntu shop’s cloud has been released for IBM’s zSeries IBM LinuxOne and on IBM Power Systems.

Canonical’s cloud will run on IBM’s planned LC servers, announced in April. The servers run OpenPOWER – from the group building customised POWER CPUs.

IBM LinuxONE and z Systems, a set of software for IBM’s mainframes launched in August 2015, already ran SUSE and Red Hat in addition to Ubuntu.

The software stack included Apache Spark, Node.js, MongoDB, MariaDB, PostgreSQL and Chef.

Canonical said in a statement it had been working with IBM to ensure users of zSystems mainframes, LinuxONE, Power Systems and OpenPower got the same “experience” in terms of management and use as OpenStack customers on x86.

IBM sold its x86 servers business to Lenovo in January 2014, having already taken hold of IBM’s PC business.

Canonical claims Ubuntu is the most popular operating system in cloud, with more than two million Ubuntu Linux instances launched in the cloud in 2015.

It also claims to run 55 per cent of OpenStack production clouds.

E870C and E880C Power Systems for the cloud, running AIX, IBM i and Linux, have OpenStack-based cloud management (Cloud PowerVC Manager) and elastic consumption attributes, meaning users can extend on-premises compute resources out to the IBM cloud – z Systems Operational Insights is a SaaS-based service offering analytic insights on cloud operations.

The POWER8-based E870C and E880C provide automated virtual machine (VM) deployments, pre-built image templates and self-service capabilities. An HMC Apps as a Service technology preview provides a capability to automatically aggregate Power Systems’ performance and inventory data across an enterprise. These apps are hosted in a secure cloud and provide health state, geotagging and threshold alerts that can be accessed via a secure portal from users’ mobile devices.

These apps come with new Power E870C or E880C servers at no charge. Full general availability should come in 2017, with more applications as part of the suite.

Big Blue is also announcing Spectrum Copy Data Management and Protect.

Copy Data Management, an agentless VM, provides what IBM calls “detailed, easy-to-use management of data copies.” IBM says it builds a catalog of copy data from local and hybrid cloud and off-site cloud infrastructure, identifies duplicates and compares copy requests to existing copies. This helps ensure that a smaller number of copies are created and saves on storage.

IBM has a relationship with Catalogic for copy data management.

Spectrum Protect has been extended with cloud object storage options for use in hybrid cloud deployments.

Get an E870C and E880C data sheet here. ®

Winter is Coming: Bitcoin Mining for Heat (And Profit)

Icicles

For a hobbyist bitcoin miner, the industry is a different place than it was a few years ago.

It used to be that you could use your CPU or GPU to mine bitcoin. But then the price of bitcoin started rising and people began to realize how much money could be earned, and – with the resulting rise in mining difficulty – only those that could afford costly ASICs were in a position to actually make any profit. Soon enough, only the largest operations could compete.

Research shows that, for new miners, the price of a bitcoin needs to be at least $600 to break even if electricity costs are less than $0.10 per kWh.

Another change has been geographic. It used to be that miners were distributed all across the globe, but many of the largest operations have centralized in parts of the world with at least one of the two following variables: cheap/free electricity or a cold environment.

A significant portion of the electricity cost associated with mining has to do with keeping the mining chips cool. For any computer user, we know this as the loud fan working to keep our CPU cool. If the miners are kept cool due to the environment or electricity costs are not a concern, cooling costs become an afterthought.

But what if someone still wanted to mine without those benefits?

Presently, the only company releasing new products targeting the average miner is the Shanghai-based Bitmain. It believes that its recently launched Antminer R4 is the easiest way for the hobbyist miner to generate some cryptocurrency. But do the numbers actually work?

Before the R4 sold out, it would have cost a home miner $1,635 (plus a hefty whack in shipping) to obtain the miner and a power supply unit. With the price of a bitcoin at $594, a pool fee of 1%, and 12 cents per kWh, it would take approximately 537 days to break even on investment.

And that 537 days is contingent on mining difficulty not increasing, so it’s possible that ROI could take far longer, especially if more people take up mining.

Nishant Sharma, international marketing manager at Bitmain, explained that the increased cost per gigahash is due to the custom hardware-design associated with keeping the noise down on the R4. And at 52 decibels – as loud as a conversation at home – it is much quieter than the average bitcoin miner.

“With bitcoin’s current difficulty level, it is extremely challenging to make a low-power or low-cost miner that can breakeven,” Sharma said.

Mining for heat

Unfortunately, that doesn’t actually help the average miner hoping to generate profit – or at least break even as a hobbyist looking to help support the network. But as basically every character in the Game of Thrones would say: Winter is coming.

So to keep warm this winter, why not take what many miners around the world try to get rid of as an unwanted waste product – heat – and use it for something good?

While this isn’t a new idea, per say, there was always a trade off between the loud noise the miner emitted and the heat it produced. Sharma explained that the R4 can act as a fan heater because of its unusual noise level.

The unit of measure for a space heater is the British thermal unit (BTU). For every one watt of electricity that goes into a heater, 3.413 BTUs are released.

The average 900-watt heating fan can be purchased for approximately $50. And at 900W, it’s going to produce 3,071 BTUs, which will help heat about 90 square feet. To power that heater, an individual would be looking at a cost of around $2.59 a day. Let’s assume this runs for four months out of the year and electric costs are a little over $310.

All you got for that total investment of $360 is heat.

The R4, which is billed at 845W + 9% at the wall, would require about the same amount in electricity cost every day. The difference is that the owner would earn about $3.04 per day in bitcoin or $394 over the same four-month period.

Is it economical? It would still take a little over 408 days to actually break even on the hardware and that’s if you were running the miner all year. But for those that wanted to give mining a try anyway, it would be somewhat of a cost saver.

In hot water

Another option would be to use the heat from the miner to actually heat up water for use in a shower or to wash your hands.

A 50-gallon, 5,500W electric water heater that runs for three hours every day would cost $722.78 per year in electricity to run, plus the initial cost of approximately $500.

Because the bitcoin miner is kicking off heat, some companies have had the idea of pushing water through mining chips.

One company trying the approach is BitHeat. The firm believed that it could create a bitcoin miner for anywhere between $1,200-$2,2,00 that would produce enough heat every day to heat a 40-gallon tank.

In a blog post from last November, the firm wrote:

“For chips with efficiencies around .16 J/GH a $1200 price point would ROI in about 20 months, and have a 50% ROI in 40 months. But with BitFury’s 16nm chip (.06 J/GH) it would ROI in about 6 months at a $1200 price point, and about 18 months at a $3000 price point, and a 50% ROI in 35 months.”

With a life expectancy of 12-years for the average electric water heater, a breakeven of only 18 months would create an additional 10.5 years for someone to heat their water and mine bitcoin on a daily basis.

Spreading Cost

Ultimately, making the decision to mine for heat is simple: you’d be using the electricity anyway. Because the input for a bitcoin miner is electricity, but there is the output of both heat and bitcoin, the possibility of subsidizing the cost of heat is alluring.

The primary problem is the cost of hardware. The BitHeat team said its miners could break even after only a year and a half, but that is when providing hot water – which people need year round.

If the sole purpose of buying a bitcoin miner was to heat a room, a person might not want to run the miner in the warmer months – greatly increasing the time before ROI.

Still, if someone was going to mine anyway, spreading the cost of electricity across mining and keeping warm can be a straightforward attempt at achieving breakeven as quickly as possible.

Icicles image via shutterstock

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